Kids Need Quality Campaign

Education  Basic Needs | Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan

As part of our advocacy initiative, Quality Child Care stands to inform parents of the conditions of childcare centers. We advocate for safe and healthy child care to be available for ALL Central Indiana children.

Learn How You Can Help




Why does quality child care in Indianapolis matter?

  • Families need child care. Most parents with young children work, so child care is in high demand.
  • Quality, affordable child care is in short supply. Too few providers meet voluntary standards for health, safety and support for children’s learning and development.
  • Research shows that quality child care can make a difference. Children who receive quality child care are more successful in school and in life. The impact is greater for low-income children.

What is quality child care?

Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY system rates child care providers on a standards-based set of criteria:

Level 1:

Health and safety needs of children are met.

Level 2:

Environment supports children’s learning.

Level 3:

Planned curriculum guides development and school readiness.

Level 4:

National accreditation, the highest indicator of quality, is achieved.

How are we doing?

  • Since 2008, United Way and its partners have helped 42 child care providers reach Level 1, benefiting more than 4,000 children.
  • United Way has helped 12 of these providers reach Levels 2 and 3.
  • 24% of center-based child care providers in Central Indiana have reached Level 3 or 4.
  • 25% of low-income children supported by government subsidies attend a Level 3 or higher program.

What’s next?

United Way is investing significantly to improve the supply of and demand for quality child care by:

  • Providing intensive coaching and funding to improve the health and safety of at least 70 unlicensed child care centers so they reach Level 1 by 2014. 
  • Supplying training opportunities, curriculum support, classroom equipment, books and volunteers so at least 110 unlicensed and licensed child care centers reach Level 3.
  • Promoting high-quality programs participating at high levels in Paths to QUALITY to families.
  • Advocating for improved policies at state and local levels to ensure all families have access to care that is affordable, safe, clean and prepares children for success in school.

What are the benchmarks for success?

Our goal is that all children in low-income families have quality options. Our progress measures are:

Quality Child Care Benchmarks

  • By 2017, 60 percent of center-based providers will achieve Level 3 or 4, and 70 percent of low-income children will be in a Level 3 or higher child care program.
  • By 2021, 80 percent of center-based providers will achieve Level 3 or 4, and 90 percent of low-income children will be in a Level 3 or higher child care program. No programs will be below Level 1.

How can I help?

Give to United Way. Contributions to the education priority support this work.

Advocate with United Way to demand quality child care for every working family.

Volunteer as a United Way ReadUP Reader to help children learn early literacy skills.


Initiative at a Glance:
United Way is working to inform parents about the importance and availability of safe early learning environments and quality child care options. And, we are advocating for laws to enforce quality child care options.